A Country for All Ages

Winston Churchill once remarked that the “Balkans produce more history than they can consume.” That might be an understatement. Even so, Bulgaria, which hugs the peninsula’s eastern edge along the Black Sea, may have a right to say its history is among the oldest and most complex. Human existence here can be traced back to at least the Old Stone Age.

During antiquity, the region now known as Bulgaria was controlled by Thracians, Greeks, and Romans. Over time, the area was overtaken by the Avars, the Byzantine Empire, and the Ottomans. Each stage was met with local resistance. As Ottoman control weakened across the Balkans, Bulgaria again blossomed under its own control. After the Second World War, the Soviet Union pressed the country under into its political sphere. A new constitution was drawn in 1989, and in 2007, Bulgaria joined the European Union.

For travellers, this page-turning history thriller provides the backdrop for one of the region’s most dynamic countries, both culturally and geographically.

Anchored in antiquity with the remains, traditions, cuisine, and music from thousands of years, the country thrives with a modern capital. There are multiple mountain ranges in the country—including the Balkan Mountains, which give the peninsula its name—and the highest peak in the Balkans: the 2,925-metre Musala Peak. The Danube River flows along its northern border. To the east, the Black Sea provides a completely different dimension to tourism here—with its famous resort cities of Varna and Burgas. The country is bordered by Romania, Turkey, Greece, the Republic of North Macedonia, and Serbia.

How to get there?

Visitors can reach Bulgaria by car, plane—mainly through Sofia’s International Airport, but also from other airports including Varna, Burgas, and Plovdiv—bus, and train. Active travelers can also pedal through the country by bicycle, which crosses the border through the EuroVelo 6 and 13 routes.

  • Time Zone
    GMT +2
  • Population
    7 million
  • Capital
  • Official language
  • Currency
    Serbian Lev, or BGN (1 EUR = 1.95 BGN)

EU citizens do not need a visa to visit Bulgaria. Though a member of the EU, Bulgaria is not yet a member of the Schengen Area.

Cultural Routes in Bulgaria

Part of one EU macro-regional strategy—the Danube—there are two Cultural Routes that passes through the country: the Roman Emperors and Danube Wine Route and ATRIUM.

Roman Emperors and Danube Wine Route

This path encompasses five countries along the Middle and Lower Danube. Focusing on the movement of the Romans in the “northern frontier of the Empire,” the sites on the route include archeological sites and wine regions. Bulgaria has several points of interest along the trail: museums, historical sites, and vineyards. Two stops along the heritage trail include the Belogradchik Fortress and the Pleven Wine Museum.


ATRIUM – Architecture of Totalitarian Regimes of the 20th Century in Europe’s Urban Memory

The purpose of Architecture of Totalitarian Regimes of the 20th Century in Europe’s Urban Memory (ATRIUM) is to provide a mechanism for Europeans to investigate their past during particularly trying times. According the the route’s website: “The route aims to promote the appreciation of the architecture and urban design left by these [totalitarian] regimes for their quality.” In Bulgaria, the route makes its stop in the capital of Sofia.

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